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USS Liberty (AGTR - 5)

June 8, 1967

In June 1967, jet aircraft and motor torpedo boats of the State of Israel brutally assaulted an American naval vessel, the USS Liberty, in international waters off the Sinai Peninsula in the Mediterranian Sea. The attack was preceded by more than six-hours of intense low-level surveillance by Israel photo-reconnaissance aircraft, which buzzed the intelligence ship thirteen times, sometimes flying as low as 200 feet directly overhead. The assault that followed was initiated by high-performance jet aircraft, and was followed up by slower and more maneuverable jets carrying napalm, and was finally turned over to lethal torpedo boats, which blasted a forty-foot hole in the ship's side.

The attack lasted more two hours - killing 34 American sailors and wounding 171 others - and inflicted 821 rocket and machine-gun holes in the ship. And when the USS Liberty stubbornly remained afloat despite her damage, Israeli forces machine-gunned her life rafts and sent troop-carrying helicopters to finish the job. At this point, with Sixth Fleet rescue aircraft finally enroute, the government of Israel apologized and the attacking forces suddenly withdrew. Only then did the identity of the assailants become known.

According to Israel, the attack was a tragic case of the misidentification - Israel claims they mistook American ship for the out-of-service Egyptian horse carrier El-Quizer and that American side brought the attack upon themselves by operating in a war zone without displaying a flag - the claim denied by the US Navy. The attack has been a matter of controversy ever since.

Sources NavSource Naval History - http://www.navsource.org/archives/09/6005.htm
  USS Liberty Official Web Site - http://www.halcyon.com/jim/ussliberty/


USS Pueblo (AGER - 2)

January 23, 1968 The US Naval intelligence ship, USS Pueblo, and 83 crewmen were captured by North Korean patrol boats after being strafed by MiG's over international waters off Wonson harbor in 1968.  One crewmember, Duane Hodges of Creswell, Oregon, died as a result of wounds suffered during the capture.  The remaining crew members spent the following 11 months in captivity and were routinely abused, beaten, and tortured.  As a result of this incident and the downing of the unarmed US Navy EC-121 by North Korean MiG's the following year, the US began a significant military build-up in and around the area. 
Sources USS Pueblo Official Web Site - http://www.usspueblo.org/v2f/association/associaframe.html
  Pueblo Incident - http://www.geocities.com/Tokyo/Lights/2052/page8.html
  NavSource Naval History - http://www.navsource.org/archives/09/6102.htm


USS Stark (FFG -31)

May 17, 1987 Struck by two Exocet missiles 17 May 1987. An Iraqi Marage F1 aircraft supposedly mistook Stark for an Iranian ship. Stark's SLQ-32 EW system detected the aircraft's radar; the only action the ship took was to attempt to communicate with the aircraft. The ship's Phalanx CIWS was not operating at the time. The CIWS and 76 mm gun were masked by her masts; no attempt was made to turn and un-mask those weapons. The missiles penetrated the hull, below the main deck level, under the port forward corner of the main superstructure. One missile detonated and the fuel from both missiles burned. 37 crewmen died; the ship was heavily damaged and was nearly lost due to the weight of firefighting water. She was saved by excellent damage control efforts. Temporary repairs were carried out by the destroyer tender Acadia (AD 42) at Bahrain. She then returned to the US under her own power. Repairs at Litton/Ingalls took 15 months and cost $90 million.


USS Samuel B. Roberts (FFG -58)

April 14, 1988 Struck an Iranian mine 14 April 1988. She suffered a 22 foot hole in her side, a 9 foot tear in her bottom and a cracked superstructure; her gas turbine engines were knocked out of position. There were no fatalities, although 10 sailors were wounded by the blast. Damage was actually more severe and the ship came closer to being lost because the structure of her hull was severely weakened and she was severely flooded.  After emergency repairs, Roberts departed the Gulf on 1 July 1988, aboard the deckship Mighty Servant 2. She was repaired at Bath Iron Works (Portland Ship Repair Facility) at a cost of $37.5 million. Repairs took 18 months.


USS Cole (DDG - 67)

October 12, 2000 The USS Cole, during a scheduled refueling in the Yemeni port of Aden, was attacked by two suicide bombers who blew up a small explosive-laden rubber raft next to the destroyer. The explosion ,which ripped a 20-by-40 foot hole in the port side of the Norfolk, Va.,-based destroyer, killed 17 sailors and injured 39 other. According to the U.S. officials, Saudi-born dissident Osama bin Laden , who is based in Afghanistan, may have been involved in the attack.

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